Rajasthan Governor Margaret Alva today called upon all States to balance conflicting beliefs and interest of its citizens and uphold an artists' freedom of expression, even when faced with problems of law and order. Inaugurating the five-day-long 'Jaipur Art Summit-2013' here, the Governor said, "The threat of freedom of expression, on the face of it, emanates from the state, for, it is governments which are called upon--in fact, cajoled and pressured--to ban public expression of ideas, writings or works of art. Democratically elected governments are vulnerable to organised social groups, more so when there is a perceived threat to law and order." "It has to contend with various challenges, the important being- the upholding of freedom of expression and the economic viability of art itself," she said. Alva said she did not subscribe to the notion of any individual or group's 'right to be hurt' by exercise of freedom of expression by others. "The State has to balance conflicting beliefs and interest, while it is called upon to stand more resolutely for freedom of expression, even while faced with problems of law and order," she said. The Governor called upon the 'stakeholders' notably government agencies, artists, media and community organisations to work toward building a more tolerant, pluralistic society. "It is especially important for saner, moderate voices within all communities to assert themselves in favour of freedom of expression," she said. "We have seen artists hesitating to stand up for the freedom of those belonging to rival ideological persuasions.
Freedom of Expression, if it is to strike deeper roots, has to be indivisible, available to all, with conscious support of all, cutting across sectarian divides," she added. The Governor pressed for Art Education to be sustained, as a movement, from school upward to colleges or universities. Museums and archaeological sites should be the subject of field assignments for students, she said. There is a need for preservation and documentation of tribal art traditions, and for this the government agencies and self-help groups should enable tribal people market their products, Alva opined. Among others who were present at the function include noted artists Anjolie Ela Menon, Jatin Das, and Shanti Dave. Progressive Artists Group president and Rajasthan Lalit Kala Akademi vice-president, R B Gautam, said the summit is aimed to establish the Pink City on the global map of contemporary art. Rare art works from private collection of various art connoisseurs of Rajasthan will also be on public display during summit, Gautam said. Among major attractions will be works of renowned artists like M F Husain, F N Souza, P N Choyal, Anjolie Ela Menon, Jatin Das and Shanti Dave, he said. The summit has emerged from efforts of the artist community and in coming years will establish new benchmarks in the field of art, Timmie Kumar, chairperson of Jaipur Art Summit told reporters.